Football fans who send racist messages could be banned from matches

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said football fans who send racist messages could be banned from matches.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:45 am
Boris Johnson Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

Mr Johnson has said people behind abuse on the internet could now face punishments under football banning orders, which can currently be used to sanction those who shout offensive chants in football grounds.

He told Prime Minister's Questions: “I utterly condemn and abhor the racist outpourings that we saw on Sunday night.

“So what we are doing is taking practical steps to ensure that the football banning regime is changed so that if you are guilty of racist abuse online on football, then you will not be going to the match.

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“No ifs, no buts, no exemptions, no excuses.”

The exchange follows widespread condemnation of racist messages sent to some black members of the England football team after their Euros final loss to Italy at the weekend.

In the Commons, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “far from giving racism the red card, the Prime Minister gave it the green light” as he accused Mr Johnson of “the worst kind of gesture politics - putting on an England shirt over a shirt and tie whilst not condemning those booing.”

England footballer Tyrone Mings said that Priti Patel had previously “stoke[d] the fire” at the start of the tournament by referring to taking the knee as “gesture politics” , but the Prime Minister rejected a call from Sir Keir to condemn his Home Secretary.

Mr Johnson told the House: “I want to reiterate my support, our support, our total support for our fantastic team and I support them in the way that they show solidarity with their friends who face racism.

“The Home Secretary has faced racism and prejudice all her career of a kind that he can never imagine, and she has taken practical steps to get black and minority officers into the police in record numbers.”

The Football Association and the Duke of Cambridge have all condemned the abuse, while England manager Gareth Southgate described the hate directed at the players as “unforgivable”.

Leeds boxer Nicola Adams has said she is "fed up" with people who deny racism after England players were subject to vile abuse following the Euro 2020 final.

Fellow player and Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips has also backed his teammates.

Adams, who is in a same sex relationship, has spoken about before about racism and homophobia.

Following England's exit in the Euro 2020 final, Adams posted to Facebook: "The amount of times I’ve typed this post out and deleted it and then typed it again is too many times to count.

"I like to keep it real, say it how it is… so I’m fed up of hearing England doesn’t have a problem with racism. Because it does!!."